Richmond, Virginia 2018

Last updated November 23, 2018



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Day One | Day Two

Carmen needed a ride to Richmond, Virginia to get a cheap flight. Norma thought this would be a good road trip so we decided to do just that.

Day One, Saturday, October 20, 2018

Very little planning went into this trip so after driving down, we wasted a lot of time looking around, figuring what to do.

Richmond is the capital of Virginia and was incorporated in 1742.

After stopping at the visitor center, we paid a visit to the National Donor Memorial. In the first photo, first column is the Wall of Tears. Carmen found her name on the Wall of Names (second photo, first column).

We spent some of the day viewing buildings that Carmen found to be of architectural interest such as the Museum of Architecture and Design and Thomas Jefferson High School. We also checked out some graffiti art (third photo, first column).

Next, the four of us did a little exploring near the James River. We walked across the 1700 foot long T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge which crosses the James River. See fourth and fifth photos, first column.

Below, I saw mystery snails (first photo, second column). They are non-native but not necessarily invasive since its ecological and economic impact is unknown, according to National Exotic Marine and Estuarine Species Information System - Bellamya japonica

Mystery snails are fascinating creatures:
  • The snails are gluttons for algae growing on the river's bottom, yet they excrete very little of the pollutants phosphorus and ammonium.
  • In their tissue, the snails concentrate spilled oil and other toxins, a trait that makes them potentially valuable as tipsters on pollution.
  • They can close their shell and survive out of the water for as long as a month.
  • Females live for about five years, males for three. They retreat to deep waters for the winter, where they hibernate in the mud.
  • The snails are native to East Asian rice paddies, where they are snatched up for the dinner table.
  • Merchants and sailors brought mystery snails to the West Coast in the 1890s for Asian food markets. By 1911, the snails had escaped to California irrigation ditches. Demands by food, aquarium and water-garden markets helped spirit the snail across the country. By 1960, mystery snails had found a haven in the Potomac at Alexandria.
  • - from The Washington Post - Urban Jungle Fall 2012

    Railroads helped forge the city. See second and third photos, second column.

    We didn't see much wildlife but we did spot a few turtles (fourth photo, second column).

    Daphne gets her short legs from me (fifth photo, second column).

    Under the Manchester Bridge, someone left us a warning "Beware ahead. Walkers" (sixth photo, second column). Fans of "The Walking Dead" know what this means.

    Norma and I took Carmen to the airport. After that, I guess we checked into a motel and went out to eat. But I have no recollection of this since I'm recalling things a month later. That's why this blog is so short and uninteresting.
    Click thumbnails to enlarge.

    Day Two, Sunday, October 21, 2018

    I had mentioned that we went into Richmond without a plan. So our first day there was really more of a chance to figure out what is interesting.

    I'm not much of a city person but lots of big cities (like Richmond) have put aside nice natural and/or historic sections for recreational use. We explored some of these sections. We walked across the James River on the suspended bridge (first photo, first column) under Lee Bridge to Belle Isle. This island is known for housing prisoners of war during the Civil War.

    Looking back, we had a nice view of the urban skyline against the mostly clear sky (second photo, first column).

    The three of us walked along the quarry pond. These trails get used quite a bit so there were a lot of people out. But this was one area where Daphne could run off leash, at least for awhile. This area is not a good place to go if you want peaceful solitude but in such an urban area, it is about as good as it gets.

    The west side of Belle Isle is particularly interesting because of all the historic ruins (third photo, first column).

    In the fourth photo, first column, Daphne stands at the ruins of the hydroelectric plant (fifth photo, first column) just downstream of the mill race. A nearby information sign read
    From 1904 to 1967, the Virginia Electric Power Company operated a power plant on the island's south bank.

    I think this area would be great for a hard rock album cover photo.

    Next to the hydroelectric plant, Daphne and I went into in the old transformer building (first and second photos, second column).

    Here is a view of the buildings from the outside. See third and fourth photos, second column.

    We saw the ruins of a bridge (fifth photo, second column) that reminded me of the Bollman Truss Bridge in our town.
    Click thumbnails to enlarge.

    The 1.25 mile long Riverfront Canal Walk is a nice oasis in the heart of the city. We actually walked on it about three times during our visit. See first and second photos, first column.

    The trail took Daphne and I under a railroad bridge next to Kanawha Canal (third photo, first column and first photo, second column).

    Next, we walked on the Richmond Canal Walk and the 50+ mile long Virginia Capital Trail near Kanawha Canal. See second and third photos, second column. The later photo is more graffiti art. It reminds of me ribosomes.

    We walked on a very small part of the Virginia Capital Trail. It would be nice to explore more of it and maybe combine that with a kayak trip. Much of it runs near the mighty James River. The James River is a big place. But if you're interested in its smaller tributaries, check out the Presquile National Wildlife Refuge near the New Market Heights Phase of the Virginia Capital Trail, not far from the Shirley Plantation. See coordinates for Presquile National Wildlife Refuge.

    Norma helped someone out whose car battery died.
    Click thumbnails to enlarge.

    We ended the day by exploring kayak launch sites. I made use of the Rivers of the Richmond Region map that I picked up from the Richmond Visitor Center. Our first stop was along the Chickahominy River just east of Sandston. This is part of the Chickahominy Water Trail, a segment of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. This section is known for its swamplike wilderness and natural obstruction that may require portage. The put-in is at Grapevine Bridge. See the "Rivers of the Richmond Region map" at #7 or the DeLorme Virginia Atlas page 58 3D.

    See coordinates for Chickahominy Water Trail and Grapevine Bridge Access Point at Chickahominy River. Be sure to bring a kayak cart since the launch area is a about 275 feet from the parking lot.
  • First photo: Upstream view.
  • Second photo: Downstream view.
  • Click thumbnails to enlarge.

    Norma and I found a launch site on the Pamunkey River just southwest of Little Page Bridge at coordinates 37.787723, -77.370152. See the "Rivers of the Richmond Region map" at #4 or the DeLorme Virginia Atlas page 58 3B.
  • First photo: Muddy launch area.
  • Second photo: Downstream view.
  • Click thumbnails to enlarge.

    Our final stop was at the North Anna Canoe Launch at 17600 Washington Highway, Doswell, VA 23047. This is at Chandler Crossing. See the "Rivers of the Richmond Region map" at #1 or the DeLorme Virginia Atlas page 58 2A. I can imagine launching from here and taking out downstream at Little Page Bridge on the Pamunkey River.
  • First photo: Downstream view.
  • Second photo: Upstream view.
  • Click thumbnails to enlarge.

    The drive home was terrible. Ever since I went to Lake Anna kayak club training, I've had a strong distaste for northern Virginia. The only time I've found to be suitable for travel in this area is when most people are asleep.